Perfect Pumpkin Bread for Thanksgiving

With a perfect consistency and color for baking, rich in Provitamin A (beta-carotene), and delectable appeal, pumpkin is a wonderful ingredient for baking. With nutritious ingredients and a natural sweetness, this pumpkin recipe lends itself to a healthy alternative for dessert too. After all, if muffins are eaten for breakfast, why not bread for dessert?

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

12 servings – about 90 calories per slice


  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup fresh pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray 8” x 4” non-stick loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and salt.
  • Blend pumpkin, egg, molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla, until consistency is smooth.
  • Pour pumpkin mixture over flour mixture and stir together.
  • Pour in pan and bake for about 35 minutes.
  • Cool completely on rack before slicing.

Optional Ingredients

Sucanat, an unrefined sugar derived from sugar cane juice, adds a nice flavor to baked breads and cookies. Sucanat can be used to replace equal amounts of sugar. This product can be found in health food markets and groceries carrying sugar alternatives.

Walnuts add a tasty crunch to pumpkin bread, and also supply protein and Omega 3s. Dried pumpkin seeds are another high protein source. However, be sure to add another 16 calories per serving if including 1/4 cup of either nuts or seeds to the batter.

If you have not had the time or inclination to pick or carve pumpkins this year, feel free to used canned pumpkin in place of fresh. The consistency of canned pumpkin is smoother, so there’s no need to use a blender. Just stir it in with the wet ingredients and sugar and follow the recipe. Pumpkin bread can be enjoyed any time of year when using canned pumpkin.

Pumpkin Bread Beyond Thanksgiving Day

Pumpkin Bread delight can last beyond Thanksgiving. If hosting overnight guests is part of your Thanksgiving tradition, serve pumpkin bread as a light breakfast choice the next day. Offer natural peanut butter, apple butter, or fruit spread (preferably sweetened with fruit juice), for a healthy alternative to butter, although this bread is delicious eaten au natural!

Healthy Choices at the Thanksgiving Table

While remaining conscious of good eating habits, enjoy the holiday feast and festivities with gusto. In addition to pumpkin, enjoy squash, cranberries, and turkey. Zoom in on the most colorful and least processed foods and keep portions small. Portion control leftovers as well, freezing in small containers. Thank yourself for making smart choices and have a delightful holiday!

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